Home > icl info > Brian Lara flops as Indian rebel league begins

Brian Lara flops as Indian rebel league begins

Paymasters of the breakaway Indian Cricket League say they expect to run at a loss for the first two years of their initial three-year £48 million innovation, but are bullish when asked if they will pull the plug should the project fail.

The ICL, which began on Friday, features a number of county players among the six teams, including Chris Read, Paul Nixon, Darren Maddy and Vikram Solanki.

Yesterday, in two matches at Panchkula, Maddy scored just eight as Kolkata Tigers lost to Chennai Superstars by six runs, while captain Brian Lara made a golden duck and Solanki only five as Mumbai Champs lost to Hyderabad Heroes. The tournament is not yet rocking cricket as Kerry Packer’s World Series did in the Seventies, but it is causing a stir.

“I would not call it a ‘loss’, it’s an investment,” said Himanshu Modi, business head of the ICL for parent company Essel Group. “Efforts are fully behind it to make sure it works and I don’t see a reason why it cannot work, in one shape or form, even if we have to change course.”

Plans are already afoot for a second ICL in March as well as extending to eight teams and building grounds and infrastructure in all participating cities.

The Essel Group, who conceived the ICL after their Zee network failed to land the broadcast rights for India’s home matches, have signed 85 Indian players, 30 internationals, fitness trainers and a world-class production crew, not to mention ground leasing and building costs.

Against an aggressive rival in the shape of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, who have turned the global cricket establishment against ICL and banned participating Indian players from domestic cricket for three years, ICL is surviving.

The BCCI have attempted to undermine ICL with their own, grander Indian Premier League to be played over six weeks from mid-April. Modi believes this to be unworkable because of the international cricket schedule.

Modi, a namesake of his BCCI adversary Lalit Modi, has been with Essel for eight years after taking a Masters degree in finance at Strathclyde University.

“The ICL is here forever – why only three years?” said Kapil Dev, the figurehead of the tournament. “We don’t want to spoil a youngster’s life by giving them a job for three years and after that say, ‘Goodbye’.”

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